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Sony Bravia KDL-55NX810 Review

Sony KDL-55NX810 LED
Sony Bravia KDL-55NX810
“A brilliant LED-lit LCD panel set in a gorgeous monolithic chassis make Sony’s 3D-capable KDL-55NX810 an ideal blend of style and function.”
Pros
  • Stunning Picture
  • Ultra-thin bezel
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/ and Internet Video
  • Impressive video processing
Cons
  • Highly reflective screen
  • 3D technology still buggy

Sony NX810 series information: This review is based on our hands-on experience with the 55-inch KDL-55NX810 TV. However, our observations also apply to the twp other sizes in Sony’s NX810 series of LED TVs, including the 46-inch KDL-46NX810 and 60-inch KDL-60NX810. According to Sony, the three sets have identical specifications (save dimensions and weight) and should offer similar performance. 

Where does cutting edge performance meet cutting edge price? Sony may have the answers with its 55-inch 55NX810 Bravia LED TV. At an MSRP of $2899.00, the 55NX810 is not the lowest priced 55-inch LED TV you will find, but its performance and feature set combine to give you one of the best values currently available on the TV market. Sony is even sweetening the pot this season by tossing in two pair of active-shutter 3D glasses, an HDMI cable, and a copy of Alice in Wonderland on 3D Blu-ray to compete with other holiday 3D promotions available this year. Here’s why the Sony NX810 deserves its asking price (even without the extras), and an elevated position on your short list.

Out of the Box

The NX810 makes a sweet impression straight away. The ultra-thin, glossy black bezel around the screen gives it the look and feel of a super high-end display. A 1.4-inch-thick profile adds to its monolithic design, and ensures this display will look sleek and sexy while mounted on the wall. Aside from a smattering of buttons on the bottom left-hand corner, Sony’s backlit moniker is the only thing that breaks up the NX810’s super clean front face. Even the screen itself looks much like a black mirror when the unit is powered down.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

On the back of the unit, you’ll find a comprehensive set of HDMI, component and A/V inputs, an Ethernet port, and a 3D sensor port.

In the box with the NX810 is a glossy black stand, a remote control, a set of AA batteries and an AC cord.

Features and design

The NX810 is loaded with goodies. Its LED screen is illuminated using a proprietary edge-lighting system. The NX810 also offers 240hz ‘MotionFlow’ technology that reduces motion blur and includes a lighting sensor that adjusts the brightness and contrast level to suit the room’s environment. You also get built-in Wi-Fi, Bravia Internet video (which includes YouTube, Hulu Plus, Netflix and lots, lots more) as well as some handy Internet widgets that incorporate news, weather and Twitter (sure…Twitter…why not?) on screen while you watch TV.

The NX810 boasts a horizontal and vertical viewing angle of up to 178 degrees, making it a good choice for those with large rooms where the TV may not always be viewed from directly in front of it. The NX810 is also 3D capable but, outside of the aforementioned bundle, the necessary active shutter glasses are sold separately and you’ll need a 3D-capable Blu-ray disc player or compatible cable or satellite box to feed the NX810 with 3D content.

Performance

To test the NX-810, we connected a Sony 1700ES Blu-ray player as well as a basic antenna for some terrestrial HD reception. For video content, we chose the 2D version of Avatar (in both Blu-ray and DVD format) and a 3D version of Sony’s very own, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs. We also spent some time streaming YouTube, Netflix and Hulu Plus videos.

Before we got to enjoy some eye candy, we did a basic calibration of the NX810s video settings using Digital Video Essentials, a popular Blu-ray video calibration disc. We were impressed to find that the NX810 required very little adjustment out of the box to achieve some pretty accurate brightness, contrast and color production. We had to disable a few features to get the basic adjustments made, but were able to add them back in one at a time to gauge the effect they had on the image. The Sony had no problem handling the subtle variations in black levels on our test disc. It did not appear that the NX810 clipped any of the content below true black. We also found that brightness and contrast settings didn’t have an effect on the accurate production of black levels — all signs of a superior video processor.

Once the necessary adjustments were made, we got to watching James Cameron’s Avatar on Blu-ray. You don’t have to be a videophile to see that the NX810 is an absolutely stunning TV. Having viewed this same movie several times on a myriad of other displays, we are familiar with many scenes and have come to expect a certain level of performance. The NX810 surpassed our expectations handily. Most notable was the NX810’s stellar brightness and contrast capability that came without sacrificing deep black levels. Dark, forested areas within the frame exhibited details that budget displays tend to miss. There was also a balance to the color production that helped bring the image to life. Bright greens were vibrant, but not overblown while reds were more stable and rich than we’re used to experiencing. We should also note here that the NX810’s super glossy screen is attractive when dark but becomes a liability in bright light environments. Still, the NX810’s capability to produce ultra-bright images when called to do so almost makes up for it.

As Avatar continued, we began to experiment with the NX810’s MotionFlow and Cinemotion settings. Often, sweeping panoramic shots and fast motions suffer from a blurring effect on LED and LCD televisions. Most manufacturers incorporate some sort of processing designed to minimize the blur and make for a more stable, crisp image. Unfortunately, most of these processors do a very poor job and end up making the image look as if it is being artificially panned one direction or another. In most cases, we just turn the feature off and dealt with the blurring during fast motion scenes. The NX810’s 240hz MotionFlow processor, however, did a fantastic job of reducing some of the blur and edge artifacts without making the image appear processed to death. The effect was so impressive, that it may be one of our favorite features of this particular TV.

3D Performance

Before we discuss the 3D performance of the NX810, we should mention that 3D at home is still a budding technology. There isn’t a whole lot of native 3D content available, only a handful of sports broadcasts are actually made in 3D (hey, we’re lucky to get them in HD, right?) never mind that the glasses are extremely expensive. Even with extremely affordable players, the public is still slow to get on board with Blu-ray, so it is fair to assume that 3D will take a year or two (if not many more) before it really takes off.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

That being said, the Sony NX810 pulled off some pretty impressive 3D effects for us. Even when objects weren’t flying in our face, the 3D version of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs that we watched had a depth of field that was enjoyable and unique. It is clear that the notion behind 3D has changed in recent years. Instead of trying to shock viewers into believing something is being hurled at their face, directors seem to want to lure the viewer into the picture rather than just stare at it. In time, new technologies and more 3D content could change the way we experience movies at home.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

For now, though, 3D technology still suffers from some limitations. We couldn’t help but notice a flicker or blinking effect, especially when there wasn’t any considerable motion on the screen. Also, there were times when the 3D effect didn’t seem to come through, as if we were watching a 3D image, but without the glasses. Speaking of the active shutter glasses — not only do they require a hefty initial investment, but one must also consider the recurring expense of buying the batteries that power the glasses. It’s also difficult to position more than two people in the 3D sweet spot. In fact, some of us conjecture that 3D may have a faster future in gaming than it does in movies or sports. Time will tell.

Conclusion

The NX810 delivers an outstanding picture with incredible brightness, contrast, color and black levels. The superior video processors it employs really help to separate it from budget sets and the result is apparent the first time and every time you see it. If that isn’t enough, the NX810 is loaded with a wealth of internet video content and includes a built-in Wi-Fi adapter to help you get at it. If you’re keen on being an early adopter of 3D technology, then the Sony NX810 will give some of Panasonic’s top-rated 3D models a run for their money. Consider the 55NX810 a very beautiful set, both aesthetically and on-screen, with the 3D capabilities as gravy on top (a perk at no extra cost, if you will). The Sony 55NX810 is everything a TV should be: A marriage of beauty and performance.

Highs:

  • Stunning Picture
  • Ultra-thin bezel
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/ and Internet Video
  • Impressive video processing

Lows:

  • Highly reflective screen
  • 3D technology still buggy
Caleb Denison
Digital Trends Editor at Large Caleb Denison is a sought-after writer, speaker, and television correspondent with unmatched…
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